Matt Peters – Picture by Rich Biesterfeld
When the Cubs took Mathew Peters in the 12th round of the 2022 draft, it was an instant search to find out more about the big right hander from Ivy Tech community college in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The strange thing about Ivy Tech is that last spring was the final season as the school shut the baseball program down.
I didn’t take long to find information about Peters as the local TV station, WANE, did up a great video on his transformation from a 5-foot-7 and 140 pound senior in high school to a 6-foot-4 225 pounds reliever in three years.
Height – 6-foot-4
Weight – 225 pounds
Throws – Right
Age – 21
From Fort Wayne, Indiana
The video above does a great job of telling the story of Peters. But it does leave out some things that we’re gonna fill in.
Ivy Tech was not Peters’ first stop. He actually went to Hillsborough Community College for one year after his growth spurt began. When he got to Hillsborough, he was 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds. His stat line reflects someone growing into their body and someone who had not quite figured out how to throw after gaining 8 inches in height and 55 pounds.
That first season in 2021, he appeared in 13 games with an 8.03 ERA. He only threw 24 innings but did strike out 30 batters. Looking at his game log, his performance varied from night to night. Some nights he gave up two runs in an inning, other nights he wouldn’t give up anything. He still had some figuring out to do.
The spring, he was in uniform for Ivy Tech and things were much better as the coach put him through the ringer and helped him to develop his talents more to hit 97, 98, 99, 100, and 101 on the gun.
The spring, he appeared in six games and threw 30.1 innings, all in relief. He had a 3.56 ERA and struck out 54 batters. He did walk 25 and it’s clear that he’s not a polished gem just yet. The Cubs are going to have to clean him up a little bit.
Peters will not pitch this year, but he should be all ready to go next year out of the bullpen. There’s not a lot of mileage on his arm as he only threw 54 innings in college. The Cubs are probably going to be working with him on his secondaries and getting command of that hundred mile an hour heater. They’re also going to work with him on strength and conditioning and he’s more than likely going to be a guy that pitches twice a week for an inning and as the season wears on he gets bumped up to two frames a game.
The strange thing about Peters is that he does have a starter’s build. He’s a big strong kid whose body is the type that could handle a starting load. But his experience doesn’t match that. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, it’s just highly unlikely to try and build right away. It would have to be done in stages over a couple of years.
Peter’s likely to head to Myrtle Beach next spring and be a reliever. The Cubs are going to try and stretch him out a little bit to 50 or 60 innings. If the Cubs want to make him a starter, it would have to come in 2024. It sounds strange to type that, but it’s only a full season away.
In the video, the coach compares him to Superman and how he gained his power from our yellow sun. I think Steve Rogers might be the better comparison here as someone who went from a small kid into a super human. There is that dramatic physical transformation and hopefully Peters can come in and have success in his first year out of the bullpen.